Cycling Puglia in Southern Italy Plus! the Ionian Seaside

  • Itinerary Summary

    Situated on the Adriatic Coast between the spur and heel of Italy's "boot" lies Puglia. Here, ancient Greek and Italian culture mingle among hillside vineyards and olive groves, and whitewashed villages nestle against the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean. Join us as we pedal through a landscape filled with unique conical shaped dwellings known as trulli, explore fabulous limestone grottoes, and visit Lecce, the baroque Florence of Southern Italy, and three world heritage sites in Castel del Monte, Matera, and Alberobello. Along the way, you will enjoy meals prepared with Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern influences and discover the warmth and hospitality of Southern Italy's friendliest people.

    If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 11 days, check out our Puglia - Cycling Southern Italy tour, which features the first 7 days of this itinerary.

    View Day-by-Day Itinerary
    Hide Day-by-Day Itinerary
    1. Day 1: Tour begins in Trani, Southern Italy

      Highlights: Romanesque cathedral of Trani, introductions & bike fitting, welcome dinner

      We gather today on the Adriatic Coast in Trani, at one time the principal commercial port in southern Italy. Trani's Romanesque cathedral, dating to the late 12th century, is not only one of the finest early Romanesque churches in Puglia, but its position at the edge of the sea makes it especially unique. We'll fit bicycles this afternoon and then enjoy dinner together this evening.

      Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D

      Lodging: Hotel Regia

    2. Day 2: Bicycle Trani to Ruvo

      Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage Site at Castel del Monte, wine tasting

      The classic Apulian landscape unfolds before us today as we cross the Appian Way and pedal past centuries-old olive groves and hillside vineyards. We'll suggest a lunch stop at Castel del Monte, built by the Emperor Federico II. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the castle is unique in Europe for its simple octagonal shape and for the eight octagonal towers that ring it. Arriving in Ruvo mid-afternoon, we'll enjoy a wine tasting before dinner together.

      Distance: 62 km (38 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Pineta Ruvo

    3. Day 3: Bicycle Ruvo to Matera

      Highlights: Ceramics & 13th century cathedral in Ruvo, hilltop towns of Gravina and Matera

      During the 3rd and 4th Centuries, Ruvo was the principal supplier for classical Greek pottery. You can visit the National Ceramics Museum and the town's spectacular 13th century cathedral this morning. Then, we'll enjoy a ride through fields of wheat and hay as we cross the high Murgia plains to the hilltop towns of Gravina and Matera.

      Distance: 77 km (48 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel San Domenico

    4. Day 4: Rest day in Matera

      Highlights: Caves of Matera, guided walk through UNESCO World Heritage Site

      Matera is unique in all of Italy for the cave dwellings that ring the central city. Inhabited by refugee clerics and monks from Greece and the Balkans during the 8th and 9th centuries, the cave churches and domestic dwellings carved into the town's sandstone cliffs at one time housed as many as 25,000 people. Today, the churches and caves are preserved as a World Heritage Site. We'll take a walking tour of the area together, then you're free to spend the rest of the day exploring on your own, to take a loop ride, or to do both!

      Distance: 43 km (27 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel San Domenico

    5. Day 5: Bicycle Puglia's Trulli Country to Alberobello

      Highlights: Enjoy the unique scenery of Puglia's countryside

      Heading out across the Murgia plains again today you'll enjoy a gentle downhill ride to Gioia del Colle and into the heart of the trulli area. Trulli are conical shaped rural dwellings unique to this part of Italy. Originally used as storage sheds for farmers, they quickly became popular as temporary shelters. Today the landscape in central Puglia is dotted with these unique structures, now used as weekend retreats and permanent homes. We'll have a guided tour today to learn more about these conical shaped buildings and the people who built these stone houses. With your newfound knowledge, you'll enjoy tonight's accommodation inside one of these unique trulli in the heart of Alberobello.

      Distance: 70 km (44 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Trulli e Puglia

    6. Day 6: Bicycle to Ostuni

      Highlights: Trulli, vineyards, olive groves, la cittá bianca

      Our ride today will take you first through vineyards and olive groves to the whitewashed town of Ostuni. Our hotel is in the center of this amazing village which spans three hilltops and is crowned by a gothic cathedral.

      Distance: 69 km (43 miles) or more. Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Ostuni Palace

    7. Day 7: Loop ride through Valle d'Itria

      Highlights: Ancient Olive Oil mill, Ride to the beach and Carovigno

      We'll take a loop ride from our hotel today through the Valle d'Itria. The loop will take us to the Adriatic Coast and then continue to the medieval town of Carovigno and back to our hotel.

      Distance: 42 km (26 miles), optional. Meals: B

      Lodging: Ostuni Palace

    8. Day 8: Bicycle to Manduria

      Highlights: Ceramics of Grottaglie, Ionian Coast

      It's a pleasant ride this morning to Grottaglie, Puglia's most famous pottery town. Visit the local studios there, and learn about pottery, painting and firing. Our accommodation tonight is a Masseria, another example of typical Apulian architecture. Once a wall-fortified working farm with barns, stables, and houses for the peasants and for the landlord, now it's a great hotel with lovely swimming pool that was featured in the New York Times in October 2014.

      Distance: 88 km (55 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Masseria Bosco

    9. Day 9: Bicycle to Gallipoli

      Highlights: Scenic bicycling along the Ionian Coast, whitewashed villages, ancient Gallipoli

      Small fishing villages dot the landscape today as we pedal along the coast past sand dunes and forests of Mediterranean pine. Our destination is Gallipoli, derived from the Greek word kalépolis meaning "beautiful city." Our hotel is located near the heart of old Gallipoli, so you can explore the city sights this afternoon.

      Distance: 57 km (35 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Palazzo del Corso

    10. Day 10: Bicycle Gallipoli to Lecce

      Highlights: Lecce, farewell dinner

      We'll pedal inland to our final destination, Puglia's most beautiful city - Lecce. Also known as the baroque Florence of Southern Italy, Lecce's pink sandstone buildings and pedestrian city center make for an inviting afternoon of exploring. This evening, we'll celebrate the end of our journey with a farewell dinner tonight.

      Distance: 66 km (41 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Santa Chiara

    11. Day 11: Tour ends in Lecce, Southern Italy


      We'll say good-bye after breakfast today. Spend an extra day exploring Lecce, head south to Otranto, or just enjoy some R&R back on the coast. Whatever you decide, thanks for cycling Puglia with us. Buon viaggio!

      Meals: B

    • Highlights

      Mixture of Greek & Italian cultures, Classic Puglian landscapes, The beautiful scenery of the Adriatic and Ionian coasts, Hillside villages, Three World Heritage sites
    • Includes

      Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 11 days, 10 nights accommodation; 7 dinners with wine, 10 breakfasts; wine tasting; guided walk in Matera and trulli in Alberobello plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

    • Arrive/Depart

      Bari Airport (BRI), Rome (FCO) or Naples Int'l Airport (NAP) / Brindisi Airport (BDS)
    • Total Distance

      552 km (341 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average daily mileage 61 km (38 miles).
    • Rating

    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
    Sep 19-29, 2017 USD$4495 USD$650 Confirmed. Call for Availability Book it

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • Cycling Puglia – The Charms Of Southern Italy

      Puglia, which straddles the Adriatic Coast between the spur and heel of Italy’s "boot", is still one of the lesser-known, but richly-rewarding, and soon to be discovered gems.

    • Cyclist Seeks Puglian Cheese and Curious Cows

      Julie Horton, our Purveyor of Cycling Adventures, shares her quest to find cheese and curious cows on the ExperiencePlus! Cycling Puglia Plus! the Ionian Seaside tour in southern Italy.

    • Meals on Your Bicycle Tour

      Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours

    • Per la Cena or What's for Dinner?

      Bea Tassinari coordinates meals for our tours in Italy and shares her secrets for ordering a great meal.

    • Puglia - The Secret Charms of Southern Italy

      Puglia, which straddles the Adriatic Coast between the spur and heel of Italy's "boot", is still one of the lesser-known, but richly-rewarding, and soon to be discovered gems.

    • The Emperor and The Saint

      Paola Malpezzi Price reviews this biography of two of histories most important men, Frederick II and Francis of Assisi combined with a detailed description of history and monuments. Many of you have been to the places that the book mentions on our tours in Italy!

    • 10 Reasons to Head to Puglia

      This 2016 article from Traveller points out some of the things we love about cycling in Puglia

    • 36 Hours in Lecce

      36 Hours in Lecce - part of the NY Times series and highlights on spending 36 hours in interesting cities around the world

    • A Cave with a View

      Matera, once seen as uncivilized, is now prized for its ancient ways. A great article from the New Yorker's D.T. Max.

    • Authentic Italian Food

      Lonely Planet writes about expectations on meals in Italy: it may be different than you make at home, but you will be impressed nevertheless!

    • Cheese Making in Puglia

      How is cheese made? Step into a cheesemaker's shop in Italy here.

    • Of the Earth - The Ancient Sassi

      Once derided and a source of shame, the ancient sassi - or cave dwellings - of Matera are now a source of pride and wonder. A fascinating article from the Globe and Mail.

    • Pasta for Dinner

      A simple and tasty pasta for an Italian-themed meal as you plan your trip to ride bikes in Italy.

    • Pedaling on Pasta Power

      University of Oregon's Alumni Magazine highlights Rick and Paola's Story

    • Traveler David Neuburger's Cycling Puglia Video

      David joined ExperiencePlus! in May 2015 and sent us this video from the trip.

    • How would you describe this tour to a friend? If you can afford it, do it :) Best way to see a lot of interesting places in a short vacation. Spectacular views, hotels and restaurants. Every detail is covered. Couldn''t ask for better service.

      Jean L., Granby, Quebec - May 2017
    • Wonderful experience with a great group.

      Rae P., Brisbane, Australia - May 2017
    • Wonderful wonderful tour. Well organized and pleasant. Everyday was a treat.

      Isabel M., Granby Quebec - May 2017
    • After taking seven trips we finally understand just how much organization goes into one single tour let alone all the tours ExperiencePlus! organizes — impressive!!!! Every tour has been fantastic!

      Ellen L., Boulder, CO
    • It was exciting for Deb and I to get to go another trip cycling with Exp Plus! We are looking forward to the next one. The Exp Plus team really does all parts of these trips so well. Thanks!

      Cliff M., Knoxville, TN
    • Brilliant, Beautiful,Such a great cultural and cycling experience, with top notch local guides.

      Virginia S., Oakland, CA
    • Exceptional tour. The route was great with lots of interesting things to see and do. The food was plentiful and excellent. The guides were excellent.

      Denise E., Colorado Springs, CO
    • This trip had everything... cycling, food/drink, accommodations, itinerary, quaint towns, knowledgeable and fun tour leaders, etc. Go to Puglia now!

      Lisa A., Seattle, WA
    • There were so many magical moments I can''t choose one!

      Marianne B., Soquel, CA
    • Logistics, bikes, food, hotels, and cultural activities were all outstanding! A unique experience in a beautiful region. The tour exceeded my expectations at every turn. A fantastic tour by a fantastic organization! I''ll always remember this trip. Thanks!

      Jonathan L., Portland, OR
    • Besides the bike riding, I loved the cultural tours. They added so much to the trip! This was a wonderful trip. It was a trip of a lifetime!

      Catherine M., Potland, OR
    • This was the best family trip!! It was a perfect combination of riding, climbing and fantastic food!

      Deb D., Owen Sound, Ontario
    • The cycling was primarily on back roads with beautiful olive groves and vineyard along the way. There were some hills every day, but, also a lot of flat terrain. Fantastic towns and hotels and amazing food! It is hard to pick a favorite spot....I loved Materra and the cultural experience at that location. The hotels in Gallipoli, the Trulli village and the former Monastery were exquisite.

      Nancy N., Marina del Rey, CA
    • Fantastic way to see a country. Excellent tours including hotels, meals, guides, bikes, etc. by ExperiencePlus!

      Marsha T., Vancouver, Canada
    • Absolutely wonderful. An incredible experience for anyone who loves to discover new places combined with being active.

      Angie R., Philadelphia, PA
    • I''ve ridden with you three times now (and once with someone else). You have, by far, the best coordinated program around (and the best guides). To view 2000 year old olive trees, to ride country roads with stone walls, to see and stay in a trullo, is an experience that shouldn''''t be missed.

      Charlie P., Pasadena, CA
    • This tour was great blend of cycling, mingling with locals in all the towns we visited, and a phenomenal food experience. The best food I''ve had in Italy! We also learned a lot about the culture from our guides. I liked the daily lessons on the day sheets. I plan to travel with ExperiencePlus! again in the future.

      Mary Ann D., Pleasanton, CA
    • I have described this as the best vacation I have had. The best way to see and understand Italy is by bicycling. The tour guides were fabulous as they made sure everyone enjoyed the trip. You ride at your pace instead of feeling rushed or pushed. I took over 900 pictures, with the memories and pictures this will remain one of my best vacations.

      Cindy R., New Albany, OH
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? The tour of the sassi in Matera. The first sight of the sassi from the overlook took my breath away. The wine tasting in Ruvo was so much fun. Dino was very animated and enthusiastic in explaining the different wines. The antipasti at every meal were delicious, unique, and enough to fill me up!

      Sari R., Glastonbury, CT
    • Puglia was a unique area of Italy, so very different from Tuscany, Umbria and Rome. My favorite thing was riding along the Ionian Sea. Traffic was nonexistant and the scenery was wonderful. Drinking the Puglian wine (primitivo and negramano) was the second most favorite experience.

      David G., Denver, CO
    • I loved seeing thousands of Trulli and then staying in one

      David F., Columbia, MD
    • My favorite experience on this trip?: Impossible to say...leaders, food/wine, countryside, historical and cultural visits, the route...

      Deena B., Incline Village, NV
    • The chalk arrows are outstanding. My wife and I ride at differnt levels and the arrows allowed us to each ride at our own pace without the anxiety of getting lost. I think it makes the whole tour flow much better. I work a lot on bikes; your bikes ran well and were set up very well. I appreciated the cleaning after a rainy day ride.

      Bill M., Ridgecrest, CA
    • The arrows...we love them. There is no substitute! We cannot imagine biking the routes we took and and roads we were on with any kind of written directions. It would take dozens of pages, we would have spent all our time looking at the maps and not the beautiful scenery... and we would never be sure we were on the right road = stress...just what we wanted to avoid. Bikes...the equipment was excellent. The quality of the bikes and the condition of the bikes are very important to us. This is a bike trip after all. One last thought: Some (many) bike companies have decided to market to people who are more interested in their hotel rooms and the restaurants than the biking itself. Don't "dummy down" your trips. You have a very nice balance of nice hotels, very good restaurants....and, importantly, outstanding routes and wonderful biking.

      Jim B., Incline Village, NV
    • [What was my favorite part?] How could there be a favorite when Castel de Monte was so amazing, the Sassi miraculous, Arobello so quaint and the Ionian Sea so beautiful?

      Janice B.
      Salem, SC
    • The route was rich with amazing historical sites and the leaders were wonderful. Massimo, aside from knowing all the restaurateurs, also ordered special desserts for us! Marco was meticulous in tweaking our bicycles for good performance, and intelligent, humorous and patient with stragglers. You picked the best leaders!

      Eunice C
      Roosevelt Island, NY
    • [Favorite experience?] Hard to pick just one. We loved staying in the Trullo, the riding, seeing all the beautiful wildflowers, swimming in the Ionian sea, the olive oil tasting, the dinners...

      Frank C.
      Melrose, MA
    • The cultural experiences were great! We enjoyed seeing all the UNESCO World Heritage sites and all the fascinating old cities and churches. The olive oil and wine tastings were great fun, and the tour of the Grotte di Castellana was well worth taking.

      Frank C.
      Melrose, MA
    • Your system of chalk arrows is by far the very best method that we have ever seen for the route ... It would have been totally unnerving to try to read directions and be aware of traffic.

      Anne C.
      Bristol, TN
    • The scenery was wonderful, the meals great, the guides knowledgeable.

      Anne C.
      Bristol, TN
    • This trip took us through Puglia and along the Ionian coast. The scenery was wonderful, the food incredible, and the towns and historic sites fascinating. After some spotty weather the first couple of days ... the weather was perfect. This tour is rated a 301, but it was no more difficult than what we experienced in Burgundy, and maybe a little easier. There were fewer steep, long climbs than in Burgundy at any rate, and there are a few optional riding days as well. There is a shortened version of this tour that leaves out the Ionian Seaside part (5 of the people on our trip were doing the shorter version), but I recommend doing the whole thing if at all possible. We highly recommend this tour - it's a fascinating region, and one that I had not really heard of before we started looking for trips that fit our schedule.

      Jessica L & Frank C.
      Melrose, MA
    • [My favorite experiences were ] visiting with tour guides about Italy riding through the small towns on the cobble stone street.

      Leah Rae H.
      Fort Collins, CO
    • [My favorite part was] The cycling! I absolutely loved the time spent on the bike ... Tour guides were terrific!

      Dwight J.
      Honolulu, HI
    • Impossible to have only 1 favorite! Visiting the ancient cities and buildings was awesome, sampling all the wonderful foods of the region (is there such a thing as "too much of a good thing"?) I think we all cried uncle more than once at dinnertime! Getting to know our tour leaders (their personalities and background) was very enlightening and enjoyable ... As always, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip, experiencing a new country or region and are always impressed by the caliber and personalities of the tour leaders. You certainly know how to pick them!

      Annette M.
      Saratoga, CA
    • [My favorite parts were the ] wine tasting in Ruvo and bicycling through the trulli.

      Marilyn G.
      Cupertino, CA
    • Your staff are great and made it a memorable trip.

      Tim M.
      Kaneohe, HI
    • I have become a devotee to ExperiencePlus!, can't wait to do more trips and have even signed up for on in April, Sicily, so reading books about that area. Thanks for everyones' good work to make our trips the best.

      Barbara H.
      Lexington, MA
    • I looooved the tour leaders, nothing bothered them which made the trip relaxing. They were kind, considerate and well informed. They were all good at keeping us informed. They were part of the group not outside the group as tour leaders.

      Barbara H.
      Lexington, MA
    • Your new Puglia tour is a triumph. Has it all from great biking and food to the most excellent guides. We loved every minute.

      Becca S. and Rich G.

Find a Tour:

Explore Map